Here Be Dragons

Great excitement last night. We (Abbeyview Day Centre) were invited to pitch to the Dragons’ Den at the Round Table, for the Dementia Garden we’ve been planning. I went along to lend moral support; the star pitchers were Kirsty and Paul. Kirsty, full of enthusiasm, had fired in an application and then thought I would be the one to face the dragons! No way. She and Paul did a sterling double-act – Kirsty the mad-but-passionate advocate for isolated older people, and Paul the deeply grounded organic gardener. The picture below is from Tatton Park Flower Show – a design not dissimilar to ours but alas I’m having camera problems again and can’t show my own photos of last night’s event here.Tatton%20001[1]

There were four other local charities pitching, and they were all really good: the ‘Talking Tandems‘, a cycling club where sighted ‘pilots’ ride in front of the tandem and visually impaired ‘stokers’ ride at the back and add the power – they’ve done some amazing rides, and were pitching for money for saddle-bags with logos. Then there were the Street Pastors, who do an amazing practical job on Saturday nights in Dunfermline Town Centre, helping young people take better care of themselves and sometimes saving lives. They also reckon they lower the crime rate dramatically, and save a lot of NHS expenditure. They wanted money to buy foil blankets, flip-flops, and little plastic tops which make it impossible for someone to spike your drink. Then it was us. Then there was a lady pitching on behalf of her niece who has contracted an extremely rare and debilitating stem cell disease, which can only be treated in America, and is completely unavailable in the UK, either on the NHS or privately. And finally, the Depute Manager from Furniture Plus, a social enterprise which recycles furniture donations to provide a cheap way of furnishing your home for the people of Fife (the desk on which I’m typing this right now was purchased from Furniture Plus two years ago, for the princely sum of £30). She specifically wanted funding for their project which runs up-cycling workshops for young carers, and which has been massively popular, providing practical skills as well as much-needed social support.

I would have given money to all these charities, if it was me with the purse-strings. Every one was a worthy, creative and dynamic cause. The Round Table chairperson told us they get most of their funds from an annual big event in the Glen (Pittencrieff Park) in Dunfermline – a beer festival. Last year they raised quarter of a million, all to be disbursed to local charities. It’s a magnificent effort.

We were all shooed off to partake of a nice buffet and this being Garvock House, the sausage rolls were most superior! This is, unusually, the only foodie bit of this post. They’d made mega sausage rolls which were then sliced across – loads of sausage with just a thin crisp circle of tasty pastry holding it in. The veggie ones were really savoury and I detected mushrooms and nuts in the mix.

Anyway, back came the Dragons to announce their decisions. And guess what? Every one of us came away with a fantastic contribution to our respective causes. Ours was the single biggest amount – we were awarded £2,000 towards our Dementia Garden funds, which is fantastic. We’ve already raised £2,800 by our own efforts and we reckon whoney and vinegar 001e need £10,000 to achieve our plan. We’ve approached various other charities and businesses so with any luck, those will now come good and we’ll be able to get started straight away. The Dragons liked our project, not only because of its obvious benefit to older people, but because of its longevity – it’ll be there for decades to come, brightening up the townscape in Duncan Crescent and brightening up the lives of our service users.

And, come October, there will be a cheery crowd from Abbeyview Day Centre supporting the Round Table’s next Beerfest in the Glen!